During the summer of 2005, I had the privilege of working with the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York City as an Ella Baker Summer Intern. My summer experience was outstanding. I learned a great deal about public interest lawyering, while being able to work for social justice and human rights.
The Center is a nonprofit legal and educational organization dedicated to protecting and advancing the rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Center uses litigation proactively to advance the law in a positive direction, to empower poor communities and communities of color, to guarantee the rights of those with the fewest protections and least access to legal resources, to train the next generation of constitutional and human rights attorneys, and to strengthen the broader movement for constitutional and human rights.
I worked mostly on the Center’s post-9/11 docket, which translated into working on detention and torture issues. In particular, I provided legal and factual research, writing and drafting for the Guantánamo Bay detainee cases. One of the Center’s current major projects is being the central coordinating organization for a coalition of hundreds of attorneys, who are providing pro bono counsel for the detainees in Guantanamo. As a summer intern at CCR, I was able to do substantive legal work—such as research for attorneys on specific legal questions and updating the model Habeas Corpus petition used as a template by all new Guantanamo counsel.
Additionally, I was able to work on other civil and human rights cases. For instance, I was able to provide substantive immigration research for an opposition to a Governmental Motion to Dismiss—i.e. good old 12(b)6 from CivPro—in a suit challenging the current administration’s practice of sending persons overseas for interrogation by torture. Specifically, our client was a Canadian citizen who was ‘rendered’ by the U.S. to Syria, where he was tortured for over a year. Check out the Canadian governmental inquiry investigating his case atwww.aararcommission.ca.
As well, I was able to work on discovery practice in a complex putative class action challenging the post-9/11 detention and abuse of thousands of immigrant men from Muslim and/or Southeast Asian countries. The vast majority of these immigration detainees were not charged with terrorism or violent crimes, but only for minor and technical immigration infractions. While in detention, they were severely mistreated.
In sum, my summer was amazing. It was a true honor to work at the Center. I recommend the Center for any future applicants. Thanks to PILP so much for making my experience possible. As an aside, I chose to combine my summer PILP internship with a semester-long LC Externship. As such, I will be working at the Center for a total of 6 months until Spring semester of 2006. This is a good option for future PILP stipend applicants who know for sure where they would like to intern.